By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
William Regal, Samoa Joe, and Karrion Kross: God bless Regal. NXT needed a feel good moment and he provided it with his emotional stroll down memory lane. The introduction of Joe as Regal’s enforcer was well done. Unfortunately, Joe appearing was a poorly kept secret, but I like the way that they teased Regal stepping down only for Joe to decline the offer to replace him. Obviously, I hope that Joe will eventually receive medical clearance because I’d love to see him work with Kross and so many other NXT wrestlers. But it’s a great move by NXT to bring Joe back into the fold regardless of whether he can actually wrestle.
Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher vs. The Grizzled Young Veterans in a Tornado Tag match: All action with the stipulation allowing all four men in the ring at once. As much as Thatcher is a skilled mat wrestler, he also works very well in this environment. The backstage exchange between Ciampa and Thatcher with MSK continued to the slow build to their showdown NXT Tag Title match.
LA Knight, Ted DiBiase, and Cameron Grimes: A strong segment with Knight going heavy on the gratitude before attacking the legend. Grimes showed great fire while making the save and clearing Knight from the ring. I don’t know if NXT creative had these roles in mind when the DiBiase and Grimes story started, but they have it right either way with the popular Grimes in the babyface role and Knight working heel.
Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai vs. Kayden Carter and Kaci Catanzaro: A fun match with the plucky babyface duo having a good showing before the heel duo went over in the end. Carter and Catanzaro continue to be a fun underdog team.
Kushida vs. Trey Baxter for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship: While the outcome was never in question, it was an enjoyable match and it was good to see the talented Blake Christian debut under his new name. By the way, why didn’t Kyle O’Reilly ask for an NXT Cruiserweight Championship match when he challenged Kushida?
Overall show: A good episode. NXT needs a spark. Samoa Joe returning in what’s starting as a non-wrestling role is helpful, but it doesn’t fill the need for credible threats the NXT Championship. NXT did a nice job of setting the table for new feuds and matches coming out of the latest Takeover show.
Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner vs. Tyler Breeze and Fandango: A well worked match, but it was a big comedown from the hot opening segment. Barthel and Aichner just haven’t clicked in NXT North America without Walter present, and Breeze and Fandango continue to feel out of place as a campy comedy team in NXT. I continue to be baffled by NXT creative stubbornly refusing to pull the trigger on a Breeze and Fandango heel turn.